People talk about self-acceptance like it’s easy, but it can be hard to remember that, no matter what, in the immortal words of Kris Jenner, you’re doing amazing, sweetie. It may help to start with an understanding of what self-acceptance means. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of self-acceptance is “understanding and recognizing [of] one’s own abilities and limitations.” Still, in our society, it can be hard to practice that! Whether it’s certain beauty standards or expectations about where and what you “should” be doing in life (cough, rice purity test), as a parent, or as a partner, just feeling good about yourself can be a heavy lift. Actual self-acceptance is something one must constantly work at to really achieve.
The above definition may sound a bit like self-esteem, but per Psychology Today, self-acceptance and self-esteem are two very different things. According to the outlet, self-esteem is about how valuable we see ourselves, whereas self-acceptance is just an all-around “affirmation of self.” So even though they’re related, self-acceptance is also about noticing and accepting our faults and limitations. We all have them, and being able to identify them and embrace them can change the way you walk through the world, day-to-day.
Why is self-acceptance so important?
In his book Happiness Now, self-help expert Robert Holden says, “Happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness. The more self-acceptance you have, the more happiness you’ll allow yourself to accept, receive and enjoy. In other words, you enjoy as much happiness as you believe you’re worthy of.”
So, how do you achieve self-acceptance?
Self-acceptance isn’t going to come easy for most people since society often suggests having “weaknesses” is a negative thing. But they aren’t — our limitations are a part of us, and we wouldn’t be whole without them. So, here are a couple of ways to practice self-acceptance every day, according to therapists:
- Identify your strengths and celebrate them.
- Make a list of your accomplishments, the things you are proud of, and keep it around you.
- Set an intention, recite positive affirmations, or create a mantra (see below) to remind yourself that you are fine the way you are.
- Forgive yourself for your mistakes or failures in the past, no matter how big or small.
- Take an inventory of the people around you. Who supports you? Who brings you down?
- Find ways to shed yourself of those around you that don’t support you.
- Read self-acceptance quotes.
What are some self-acceptance quotes that might help?
It might sound silly, but the following self-acceptance quotes are worth typing into your phone’s notes, setting as your home screen, or even posting somewhere you can read it throughout your home. The hope? These words will become ingrained in your head and, eventually, your heart. And, don’t worry — they’re all better than any “live, laugh, love” wall hanging; we promise. It is science, after all. According to Psychology Today, using a mantra or self-acceptance quote while you meditate (or just hide from your family in your car for ten minutes a day, no judgment) can improve your anxiety, stress, burnout, anger, and help with depression.
1.“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” — Brené Brown
2. “I’m not a mess but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now when someone asks me why I cry so often. I say, ‘For the same reason I laugh so often — because I’m paying attention.’ I tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.” — Glennon Doyle
3. “I bask in the glory of my most magnificent self.” — Debbie Ford
4. “It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” — Oprah Winfrey
5. “We don’t have to wait until we are on our deathbed to realize what a waste of our precious lives it is to carry the belief that something is wrong with us.” — Tara Brach
6. “Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.” — André Gide
7. “I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes — it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.'” — Maya Angelou
8. “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” — Rupi Kaur
9. “Friendship with oneself is all-important because, without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
10. “Being different is a revolving door in your life where secure people enter and insecure exit.” — Shannon Alder
11.“No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance.” — Robert Holden
12. “At the end of the day, remind yourself that you did the best you could today, and that is good enough.” — Lori Deschene
13. “No tree tries to become a certain kind of tree. No flower tries to become a certain kind of flower. The tree and the flower open up to the sun and soak up water. Thus, they grow into themselves. No judgment. No expectations. No commentary. Your task is the same. If you can stop trying so hard to become who you think you should be, and instead commit to understanding and nourishing yourself, you will bloom into whatever kind of person you are.” — Vironika Tugaleva
14. “Self-acceptance means living the life you choose to live without worrying what others think about you. It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about you. What matters is what you think about yourself. Life is about choices — your life choices, not someone else’s choice about how you should live.” — Sadiqua Hamdan
15. “When we embrace who we are, the world embraces us right back.” — Amy Leigh Mercree
16. “Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward.” — Roy Bennett
17. “You are not your history. You are the stories you tell yourself.” — Leslie Ehm
18. “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Sharon Salzberg
19. “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” — Marilyn Monroe
20. “You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” — Amy Bloom
21. “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” — Mark Twain
22. “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” — Lucille Ball
23. “When you stop living your life based on what others think of you, real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self-acceptance opened.” — Shannon L. Alder
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